Many LondonCalling readers will know that I have been blogging for some time, even before we called it blogging – but that is another story. Over the years my blog has changed name (blog.andrewgrill.com morphed into Andrew’s Weblog before settling on London Calling in 2010). The blog is even featured on the go.co case studies website as one of the first blogs to use the .co domain.
One thing that has not changed over the years though is the need to feed the blog (and my audience) with a stream of relevant and interesting content. I have tried a number of strategies for sourcing content and also distributing it.
On the sourcing side, for while I bookmarked anything that caught my eye, and then went back to the list when I was in the mood for blogging. I then tried pre-writing blog posts and putting them in draft. Currently I have 130 draft blog posts waiting for me in WordPress!
On the distribution side, I have tried a number of things. More recently I initiated a “Rewind” series where I would repurpose old blog posts and send them out again on Twitter and LinkedIn. This was somewhat random as the WordPress plugin I was using randomly selected a post (and allowed me to deselect those that were more seasonal or not relevant anymore) and sent it out. I experimented with Buffer as well.
It is fair to say that it was not a very sophisticated approach – more DIY!
A few weeks ago, I came across an article from friend and fellow blogger Stephen Waddington about how to create a proper content calendar.
Stephen’s day job is “Chief Engagement Officer” for PR firm Ketchum so he knows a thing or two when it comes to content.
His post talks about how at Ketchum they break it content down into four areas.
1. Hero content
Activity or events that are a campaign priority and typically the focus of significant campaign investment. This will be based on key moments in a campaign.
2. Hygiene, or always on, content
News feed algorithm demand regular content. The lifecycle of content posted in a community is typically a day, and often less. Hygiene content is posted regularly, often several times a week, or more frequently.
3. Improvised content
This is content that responds to the community or a news event. It is created by listening and responding to the community.
Your community is a means of public engagement. It will be used as a means of two-way engagement by people wanting to ask questions. It’s potentially the most important form of content.
Think like an agency
This got me thinking – how do I start to think like a PR agency, as I have over 700 blog posts published and I am now writing for publications such as The Drum, ANZ BlueNotes, Changeboard and also on LinkedIn.
I needed a way that would keep me honest when planning out content (using a content calendar as per Stephen’s advice) as well as a way to distribute the content in a mor sophisticated way. I also needed it to be available as a WordPress plugin as I host all my blogs using this platform (self-hosted).
I spent a whole weekend looking at options, and there was one clear standout – CoSchedule.
I’ve only been using for a couple of weeks, but I’m hooked.
It has changed the way I source content, as I can keep writing the way I have been and saving things into draft on WordPress, then I can literally drag the post over to my calendar to schedule it, and look at a month view of upcoming content.
It is keeping me honest a a writer because I can now see, literally on a full-screen calendar when I have posts scheduled for and I can maintain a proper content calendar.
It also allows “smart scheduling” to select the best time to post per network, based on the interaction of previous posts, as shown below.
CoSchedule has a ton of features I will never use as a solo blogger, such as for working with teams, and smart workflow to suit.
I’ve got to say that as a “solo blogger”, CoSchedule has started to me feel like a Pro, as I now have a tool that helps me fine-tune both my writing, as well as the distribution of new and relevant previous content.
You can see the other features in the overview video below. The great thing for me and other bloggers is that it works right inside WordPress and also as a stand-alone web app that is useful for when you only want to work on your scheduling calendar and don’t need to access WordPress.
PR companies and social media teams can also use it as their entire social media calendar – it really is very powerful out of the box.
They have a 15 day free trial and if you are a serious (or Pro) blogger, you need to check it out to see how it can completely change the way you approach blogging.
Expect to see more regular content from me, both brand new opinion as well as a properly curated “best of” my blog archive, and videos.